All five of Wisconsin's Republican Congressmen are calling on President Joe Biden to not cancel the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline said it has suspended work on the pipeline in anticipation of President Biden revoking its permit.
Biden’s Day One plans included moving to revoke a presidential permit for the pipeline.
The 1,700-mile (2,735-kilometer) pipeline would carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, the Associated Press reports.
By Wednesday evening, representatives Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Mike Gallagher (WI-08), Bryan Steil (WI-01) and Tom Tiffany (WI-07) issued a letter to the president, asking for the pipeline to be completed.
“The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our economy and countless Americans have been put out of work by onerous mandated shutdowns. President Biden has an opportunity to signal that access to good-paying jobs is truly a priority for his administration, by reconsidering his decision to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Fitzgerald in the statement.
First proposed in 2008, the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and has been a strong supporter. Construction already started.
“Joe Biden ran his campaign with the promise to govern as a moderate, but he has broken that promise on the first day of his Presidency with the radical step of shutting down construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Grothman. “With the stroke of his pen, he has stifled 11,000 high-paying jobs, further reduced the amount of oil imported into the U.S. and has cancelled the hope of gas prices going down at the pump. This is a sad day for working Americans and a sad day for those who believed they voted for a moderate President.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised Keystone XL as a top priority when he spoke with Biden in a phone call in November. The project is meant to expand critical oil exports for Canada, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.
“So much for unifying the American people. In his first hours in office, President Biden has destroyed thousands of good-paying jobs, including many in Wisconsin, by halting the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. This construction project would help grow jobs in Wisconsin and support our communities. Instead of working to create family-supporting jobs, Biden is spending his first day eliminating jobs,” said Steil.
Trudeau and Biden are politically aligned and there are expectations for a return to normal relations after four years of Trump, but the pipeline is an early irritant as Biden has long said he would cancel it.